Bank of Italy says no to the manoeuvre: the ceiling on cash is used to counter tax evasion

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There Bank of Italy is in positions clearly different from the government on some of the most discussed points of the budget package: theraising the ceiling on cash payments up to five thousand euros from next January and the threshold of 60 euros below which merchants can refuse i electronic payments without incurring penalties.

These two measures, according to what Fabrizio Balassone, head of the economic structure service of the Department of Economics and Statistics of the Bank of Italy said during the hearings in the Budget Committee, “they risk coming into conflict with the push for the modernization of the country that animates the Pnrr and with the need to continue to reduce tax evasion”. The Court of Auditors followed the same line, which a few days ago defined the two measures as inconsistent with the objective of combating tax evasion envisaged in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

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Nor does it seem to hold the position of many merchants who focus on the high costs of commissions associated with the use of cards and ATMs. According to a study by the Milan Polytechnic, the average cost of transactions for purchases over 15 euros is 1.5%. Many banks have promotions that eliminate or lower transaction costs for merchants. Bankitalia then also explains that cash is not without costs: transport, theft, counting errors with change. «Our estimates for 2016 indicate that, for exhibitors, the cost of cash as a percentage of the transaction amount it is higher than that of debit and credit cards» explains Balassone.

Then there is the issue of evasion. «Higher thresholds (for the use of cash ed.) favor the economy covered; there is also evidence that the use of electronic payments, allowing the tracing of transactions, would reduce tax evasion» adds the Bank of Italy manager recalling that the definition of effective administrative sanctions in case of refusal of private suppliers to accept electronic payments was included among the targets of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

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The consumer associations are also in the same position. L’National Consumer Union he says: «The Government on the Pos does not even realize that it is doing serious damage to the traders. Not only is payment with the POS much faster than cash, but cash shortages are avoided, counterfeit banknotes are not received, and in the event of a robbery, there is less cash in hand».

Giorgia Meloni does not change her mind, even if she files the position on 60 euros, and some who should accept cards and ATMs and do not do so do not change it. The news reports the case of Silvia Salis, vice president of Coni, who was refused electronic payment in a taxi. «She just wanted cash and no pos, she told me that the free ride is over».

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Source: Vanity Fair

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